In several past articles we have mentioned skill shortages in the UK and how employers, universities, and the government are looking to tackle the issue. Looking at what is going on in other countries can help, particularly in the US. Businesses there are facing extreme shortages in terms of finding people to take on specific automotive jobs. One of the roles where demand is very high is auto mechanics.
Conservative estimates suggest that the shortfall of auto mechanics in US dealerships could hit 25,000 in the next five years. Fiat Chrysler reported that 5,000 candidates could easily be absorbed into their dealerships alone.
With the problem looming many employers are looking for ways to drive recruitment and attract younger talent. A year ago BMW of North America took action to do just that, launching their own programme. This sees them pitching to students at career fairs and post-secondary technical schools. Surprisingly many of the roles they want to fill are for independently owners BMW dealerships, businesses that generally have no trouble attracting talent because of the brand name alone.
As technology has developed and the computers and electrics in vehicles have become more sophisticated, the service departments in dealerships have began to generate more and more revenue. This has increased staffing demands dramatically. Unfortunately the supply of candidates cannot meet this level, either in the US or in the UK.
BMW again took the initiative to help boost the number of candidates available in the US. They now operate national training centres that offer informative, engaging courses. These involve both traditional textbook work and hands-on mechanical work. Around 400 students complete courses every year.
Fiat Chrysler offers internships and affiliated programs to help candidates gain workshop experience and an income while they are still in school. Options include a 12-18 month program or a two year associate degree. Both give candidates the skills they need to take up automotive jobs when they graduate.
Businesses large and small can learn from the two automotive giants and take initiative in training and preparing candidates to choose a career in the sector.